RADM Kinney’s 38- year naval career included distinguished combat service in three wars, and took him from Signalman to Admiral. He commanded the USS Bronstein during World War II and during one night Bronstein sank two U-boats and put a third out of action. “By his outstanding professional skill, courage and determined efforts throughout a four and one-half hour period, Commander Kinney was directly instrumental in saving three friendly vessels from probable torpedoing, in destroying two enemy submarines and in seriously damaging a third. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service” For his bold action, Kinney, the youngest man to command a Navy destroyer, received the Navy Cross.
The remainder of his career was just as distinguished. He served as Commander Cruiser Destroyer Forces Pacific, and in 1967, became Commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy. After retiring in 1972, Sheldon Kinney served 10 years as President of the State University of New York Maritime College at Fort Schulyer, committing himself wholeheartedly to maritime education.